Selecting the Right Elearning Supplier

25th February 2015

If you’re looking to commission an elearning programme for your organisation, there are many things to consider, to find the right supplier for your needs.

Find the right elearning provider and your staff will have an enjoyable learning experience and thrive when they take their newly learned skills and experience back to the workplace. Get the wrong elearning provider and you’ll leave your staff feeling demotivated and frustrated at having their time wasted when they could have been delivering.

Follow our top tips below and you’ll be well on the way to finding the perfect fit for your organisation.

1. Identify the elearning needs of your staff

Figuring out what learning and development your organisation needs and identifying’ skills’ gaps is an essential first step before beginning seeking to engage an elearning provider.

There are many ways to gather information on your organisation’ s elearning needs, such as employee surveys, customer feedback, and observations from management and company reports.

To carry out an analysis of the needs for your organisation, you need to:

  • Assess the current skills of individuals at all levels of your business
  • Identify the skills needed to take your business forward
  • Analyse the gap between your business’ s current skills and future needs
  • Plan for bridging skills gaps with appropriate learning and development

When considering the elearning and development required in your organisation, it is important to reflect on whether the individual will be able to deliver what they have learned in their workplace. It is therefore imperative that the course is directly relevant to their job role and will expand their skill set in order to get the best ROI for your training budget. And don’ t forget to ask your team and the customers who use your services for their input. They are the most likely people to experience day-to-day problems that arise from any skills gap.

2. Understand the benefits of elearning and the different types available

Elearning is used to describe any sort of digital technology to provide or support learning. Many elearning providers deliver training over the internet, but training can also be delivered via email, apps and social media.

The most common way elearning takes place is by using a desktop computer or laptop, but more learners are now using smartphones and tablets if they are more convenient for their learning style.

A blended approach of both traditional face-to-face training accompanied by an online elearning component is also an increasingly popular option. By opting for a blended programme, the learning styles for an organisation’s diverse user base will be catered for without disadvantaging the less technically savvy. Also by operating either a concurrently or phased learning strategy, the learner will benefit by having access to training that enhances the learning opportunity by engaging the learner in multiple ways.

The benefits of elearning are:

  • It is flexible and cost effective
  • Takes place at a time and pace that suits the learner
  • Can be done almost anywhere
  • Develops and tests knowledge and tracks results

Understanding the preferred learning platform and environment for your learners will help you define the best solution to facilitate this learning. A good elearning provider will help you decide which type of learning methodology and technology are best suited to achieve your learning objectives.

3. Ensuring the elearning provider shares values with your organisation

Elearning providers need to reflect the core values of your organisation. If there is a mismatch, then this may hamper the value that staff members receive from the training programme.

To ensure you get the right fit and your values match, find out if the learning provider values the following:

  • Supporting the development of excellence in the services your organisation offers through quality learning experiences
  • Equality, diversity and inclusion in relation to fair access to learning and development for all
  • The progress and development of all learners
  • The experiences the learner brings to their own learning and to others
  • Putting people at the heart of their designs for learning and development
  • Evaluation and development of their own practice as providers of learning and development

4. Ask the right questions to develop an elearning programme that suits your organisation

Once you’ve identified your staff’s learning and development needs, understood the benefits of elearning and shortlisted a range of providers to interview, now is the time to approach your potential e-learning providers and find out what they can offer you.

Here are examples of questions you might want to ask to ensure that you find the right elearning provider for you:

  • Are there any references and testimonies available?
  • Does the elearning provider have a proven track record in delivering the courses you are interested in?
  • Has the elearning provider gained external accreditation for their courses?
  • Does the offer meet your own learning needs analysis?
  • Do they offer a Project Manager and Instructional Designer?
  • Do they have a project management process with clearly defined dates for deliverables and sign-off for materials?
  • Will you be involved in the monitoring of progress?
  • Does the provider have adequate procedures for dealing with any issues or problems that may come up?
  • Do they have sufficient and recent experience of your organisation’s sector?
  • Does the programme offer a good ROI?

Keep track of the answers that each e-learning provider gives so you can make an easy comparison between them and identify the right one for you.

5. Evaluating e-learning programmes

One area that often gets left to last – or even forgotten about – is measurement and evaluation. Whichever provider you go with, you want to make sure that you can show measurable progress following the course and be able to evaluate whether the programme was a success or not.

There are several ways to get an accurate picture of the success of any elearning programme.

  • Review the impact on the employee’ s performance as part of your regular appraisal process
  • Measure tangible performance indicators, such as reductions in errors, improved record-keeping and lower absenteeism and turnover
  • Measurable qualitative improvements, such as improved customer feedback, better teamwork, fewer customer complaints and greater innovation within your organisation.

It’ s also always good practice to regularly ask for feedback from those who use your services. A simple survey on specific aspects of your service delivery can give you a very good insight into whether there has been an improvement as a result of your investment in learning and development.

6. Hiring the right learning provider for your organisation

Once you have chosen a provider it is essential that you clarify what you need rather than simply accepting what the provider may be offering.

Find out how flexible the provider will be on both programme design and delivery, to ensure the elearning programme meets your real needs and is not driven by their preferences. Successful learning providers should have the confidence and flexibility to meet your specific needs.

Marshall ACM is confident that we can meet the requirements of those looking for a values-based, competent and cost effective e-learning provider. If you want to discuss how we can provide your learning solution, then please get in touch.

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